Monday, November 12, 2007

More Soups, More Smoothies, More Beans!

More soups, as promised. Eventually I'll get to making some 'meatier' meals, such as pasta dishes, seitan, tofu, tempheh, etc... For now I'm having fun with beans and veggies.

A week ago, I made this lovely tortilla chip soup.

tacotacosoup

The recipe called for chili powder, so I was afraid it was going to burn my tongue off. My fears were allayed upon trying my first bite. Mixing cayenne and chili doesn't have to be as frightening as it sounds. The right amount of ingredients definitely added spice to the dish, but just enough to give it a little kick as opposed to ruining the entire meal (lord knows I've done that before).

I just threw together some home made veggie broth, diced tomatoes, salt, pepper, garlic, onions, tomato paste, cumin, jalepeno peppers (seeded) and chili powder. Once the soup was done simmering, I crumpled up a bunch of un-salted, organic tortilla chips (the fun part) and garnished with a slice of avocado. The avocado, in my opinion, should serve to be more than a garnish; it was so delicious, my step father was going back for more to toss in his soup!

Last night I made veggie borscht. For those of you who are new to the cooking world or just don't cook at all but enjoy my blog- you know who you are- here is a definition of borscht from wikipedia: Borscht is a vegetable soup from Eastern Europe, which is traditionally cooked including beetroot as a main ingredient which gives it a strong red color. Other, non-beet varieties also exist, such as the tomato paste-based orange borscht and the green borscht (sorrel soup).

My usual taste testers were afraid to try it for different reasons, but thankfully they were both pleasantly surprised at how good it was. I must admit, I was a little skeptical as well. Raw beets smell and taste like... dirt. So I didn't know how this would be. Not to fear! Sauteeing the vegetable in olive oil and simmering with the perfect blend of spices made the soup flavourful and nummy.

borschtyah

Isn't it so colorful? I grabbed the green-rimmed bowl, not realizing how Christmas-y it looked.

Again, I used home made broth- it really make the difference, I'm tellin' ya! Throw together a small red onion, lots of garlic, 2 large carrots, 4 beets, 1 cup cabbage, 1 cup spinach, 1 can of diced tomatoes, pepper and horseradish mustard to taste. Mmm mmm mmm... It was suggested that the soup was served with a side dish of biscuits and tofu sour cream, but I was too tired by the time I got this soup on the stove. I'll have to try that with the next soup (chive butternut).

More work/road lunchables! Okay, this picture may not look that appealing, but I can assure you that it is quite a delicious dish. The original name is lentil and black bean salad, but I think I'll have to call my version 'Lentil and Black Bean Mash'. I cooked the lentils for a tad too long and you know they get rather mushy if you just look at them for too long.

lentil mash

I normally can't eat too much bean salad or I'll just get sick of it. However, the right dressing combination can make your bean salad taste amazing. For this dressing, I used olive oil, flax oil, red wine vinegar, dijon mustard, cumin, garlic, salt, black pepper and a tiny bit of organic cane sugar.

I think I would like this meal best in a wrap or made into burgers.

Chickpea salad is also a great 'take to work' dish.
chicklepea

It's very simple and light. With home made dressing, you'll feel very healthy and skinny after eating it.

I like to pretend that I'm on a tropical island when it's really 40 degrees outside. It keeps the spirits up! To help get me into that state of mind, I made a citrus smoothie- simply mix together juice from a lime (limes are so little and cute!), 1 cup of orange juice, 1 frozen banana, a tbsp of maple syrup (the real stuff) and 1/2 cup of silken tofu for texture.

Then, to make it REAL fun, you drain and chop up a coconut and use the shell as a cup!

coconutcitrussmoothiemmm

I have to say that I was very surprised to find whole coconuts NOT at Whole Foods, but at Shaws. Shaws! I had given up on the idea of using a coconut as a drinking cup until I happened to walk by a bunch at the supermarket. I couldn't tell you how excited I was to see those fuzzy creatures!

I owe it to Mike for draining, cutting and sanding these fruits. The cups are un-even, due to the fact that it's tough to get a perfect cut without the right tools, but he did a great job.

I think I might start collecting coconut shells and throw a big, tropical party in the summer when I get my new place. With the little umbrellas, people can feel like they are really by the beach, burying their toes in pink sand, shaded by palm trees and feeling the ocean breeze tickling their skin.

Or maybe they'll just feel like they're sitting in an apartment in New England sipping out of a coconut shell.

23 comments:

Kang Doy's Bloggy Blog Blog Blog said...

LoL! Yeeaaah, the closest thing to a trpoical paradise in New England is Nantasket Beach.

I can imagine drinking those outside on a nice hot Summer evening with a beautiful sunset after a long days of band practice! :-)

Ashasarala said...

That sounds like a good idea to me. You guys will have to help me cut and sand all of them, though! ;)

Vegan_Noodle said...

I am usually not a beet fan, but I'm curious about the borscht recipe. (that definition helped by the way :-)
Love your coconut cups! What a great way to serve a smoothie. Just what I need for these warm days we've been having down in Texas...

Vegan_Noodle said...

I am usually not a beet fan, but I'm curious about the borscht recipe. (that definition helped by the way :-)
Love your coconut cups! What a great way to serve a smoothie. Just what I need for these warm days we've been having down in Texas...

VeggieGirl said...

mmm, the tortilla soup, borscht, lentil-black-bean-mash, and chickpea salad look delicious; and those smoothies are too cute!! love the coconut "cups" :0)

vko said...

Love the soups, especially the borscht! And the tropical coconuts- ah, vacation in a few sips...

Celine said...

I have coconut envy!

vegetalion said...

1.) I LOVE borscht. And it's always so pretty!
2.) I did not realize until JUST NOW that you are also in boston! I should come see your band! we should go out to eat!

Mihl said...

Thank you for leaving comments on my blog so regularly! All your food looks really delicious. Oh and I am a bean and a soup fan, so more of that please :D

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

I want to be on a tropical island right now! Although I guess it's hot enough here in Texas to qualify for a tropical island!

I've never made vegan tortilla soup; looks great!

Ashasarala said...

Vegetalion- what part of Boston do you live in? I'm in crummy South Boston. :( I agree, I think a nice lunch is in order!

Mihl- I love your blog! You post so many cute baked items, how could I not comment? Thanks for dropping by!

jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

That's it, I need to buy some coconuts.

p.s. I hope you're feeling better!

urban vegan said...

Look at all that liquidy yumminess. The coconut is reminding me that summer will come back. And the soups remind me that at least there are tasty potages to sip on during the chilly months.

aTxVegn said...

Awesome soups and salads! I have chickpea salads for lunch quite often, and I love them with a mustardy cuminy vinaigrette like you made.

Coconut shells are so adorable, and you had someone to open it for you - nice!

textual bulldog said...

ooh, everything looks soooo good. i loathe beets, but your beautiful borscht almost makes me want to try them. and that tortilla soup looks to die for! tortilla soup is one of my absolute favs. where'd you get the recipe, just out of curiousity?

Mike said...

Hey, it's fun working on coconuts. Next time I think I can make them look that much better. The smoothie inside was awesome and that's the best part.

-:>D

Emilie said...

"I like to pretend that I'm on a tropical island when it's really 40 degrees outside. It keeps the spirits up!" = funniest thing. That's so cute. What will you be doing when we get *really* cold weather here? I hope you'll invite me to your beach party and have a crew of metal cabana boys to serve tropical drinks!

Ashasarala said...

Emilie- When it gets REALLY cold, I'm going to fire up the grill and cook some kabobs in my bikini.

The metal cabana boys sounds like a great idea. You bring some tropical cuisine and I'll fetch the lads!

Mike said...

I'll be a metal cabana boy if you're gonna be cooking your bikini.

-;>D

Ashasarala said...

I probably won't be cooking my bikini. I'll probably be wearing my bikini, though. ;P

Emilie said...

"You bring some tropical cuisine and I'll fetch the lads!"

Deal!

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